The Pittsburgh Penguins are in the mix for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference but need to find more offensive production on the road.
Meanwhile, scoring goals anywhere has been an issue for the Ottawa Senators of late.
While looking to avoid a sixth loss in their last seven road games, the Penguins will aim to hand the Senators their third consecutive defeat when the teams open a home-and-home on Wednesday night.
Pittsburgh has won three of its last five games following an 0-4-2 slide and needed overtime to pull out a 4-3 home victory over lowly Anaheim on Monday. Evgeni Malkin had a goal with an assist and Sidney Crosby set up the winner for Jake Guentzel, who also assisted on Bryan Rust’s tying goal with 25 seconds left in regulation.
“I think it’s a huge win for us,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “I really like the response with our guys. Our leadership always comes to the forefront in those situations.”
Now Pittsburgh needs to get things going on the road, where it has totaled 11 goals during a current 1-5-0 rut. Four of those goals during that stretch came in a victory at Arizona on Jan. 8.
Malkin has totaled just one assist during his last five road games. Meanwhile, Crosby and Guentzel have each been blanked in four of the last six contests away from home. Crosby has two assists and no goals in his last five games at Ottawa.
Rust and Jeff Carter each scored and Casey DeSmith made 26 saves during Pittsburgh’s 2-0 victory over the Senators in February of last season.
The Senators have been shut out twice while totaling six goals in their last four games, and they have dropped four of their last five, most recently Monday’s 2-1 loss at St. Louis.
Tim Stutzle recorded his team-leading 19th goal for Ottawa, which managed to clamp down defensively after yielding 21 goals in the previous four contests.
“I think we could have deserved to win (Monday), but in the end, that’s how it goes sometimes,” Stutzle said. “If we keep playing the right way, I think there will be a lot of wins.”
The Senators will also try to avoid losing three in a row at home, where Stutzle has recorded 29 of his 40 points in 21 games. He has two goals in three career games versus Pittsburgh.
Ottawa’s Cam Talbot stopped 18 of 20 shots at St. Louis and has a 3.82 goals-against average during his current four-game losing streak. Meanwhile, teammate Anton Forsberg has allowed 13 goals in his last three starts.
DeSmith has posted a 2.92 GAA while winning three of his last four starts for the Penguins. Meanwhile, injured teammate Tristan Jarry (lower body) has faced shots in practice, but Dustin Tokarski could make his second start this season for Pittsburgh after recording 36 saves during a 4-1 home loss to Winnipeg on Friday.
These teams will play again Friday at Pittsburgh.
–Field Level Media